All steam ahead for Dudley Canal Trust

Dudley News: Councillors praised the design of the new Dudley Canal Trust visitor portal Councillors praised the design of the new Dudley Canal Trust visitor portal

IT is all steam ahead for Dudley Canal Trust after its £3.3 million visitor centre is given the go-ahead for the entrance of Dudley’s 200 year-old limestone mines.

Dudley councillors praised the Trust’s “fantastic” design and unanimously approved the application, which will see the most up-to-date canal education and industrial heritage centre in the UK built at the site off Birmingham New Road.

Councillor Kieran Casey, said: “It is fantastic to see what a big improvement it can make. It is another great project for Dudley.”

The two-storey building, to be known as The Portal, will include a reception, office space, educational area, cafe, shop and a kitchen and workshop.

Funding is currently being considered by the Heritage Lottery Fund for the first stage in the development, which will include the building of the hub, with a decision expected in the next few months.

It is expected construction work will begin in the autumn, with completion next year.

As part of the application a swing bridge will also enable visitors from the Black Country Living Museum on the opposite side of the canal to access the boat trips and ticket office.

A second development phase will include landscaping and car parking improvements at a later date.

The project has been welcomed by the Chairman of the Canal River Trust’s West Midlands Waterways Partnership, Peter Mathews.

Mr Matthews said: “This project will provide the nation’s inland waterways network with the finest state-of-the-art industrial waterway heritage centre. The Black Country and Birmingham canals played a major role as the Industrial Revolution gained pace and helped make the UK a world industrial power. This project will be absolutely essential in promoting the area’s unique industrial heritage.”

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